If you’ve recently brought home raw artichokes or artichoke hearts in a jar or can, you might be wondering: Can dogs eat artichokes?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat artichokes and even gain nutritional value from them. However, like other “human food” veggies that are technically safe for dogs, artichokes aren’t entirely without risk. You’ll want to feed your dog artichokes in a specific way to make sure they stay healthy.
Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of artichokes, the risks, and how to feed your dog artichokes the right way.
Do Artichokes Offer Health Benefits to Dogs?
Can dogs eat artichokes? Yes, they can — and the veggie even offers dogs a variety of health benefits.
Something to note: Artichokes are not the same thing as Jerusalem artichokes (sometimes called sunchokes or sunflower artichokes), which come from the sunflower plant. Dogs can eat Jerusalem artichokes too, provided you follow the proper preparation guidelines. They’re even helpful for creating a fibrous environment where healthy gut flora can thrive, which is why we include them in our Probiotic for Dogs. However, we’ll mainly focus on non-Jerusalem artichokes going forward.
Vitamins and Minerals
Artichokes are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, niacin, and folate and folic acid. The artichoke also contains smaller amounts of vitamin K, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus. These vitamins and minerals are important for all sorts of bodily functions and help support your dog’s immune system, heart health, skin and coat quality, and much more. Also, folic acid and niacin are B vitamins and support your dog’s red blood cell creation.
Artichokes also contain antioxidants, which are good for the immune system. Antioxidants fight the oxidation caused by free radicals, harmful agents that can damage your dog’s red blood cells. Antioxidants also reduce inflammation around the body, which can help older dogs avoid arthritis pain. They also aid in cognitive function and may even have cancer-fighting properties.
Like other plant foods, artichokes have a high dietary fiber content. Fiber helps your dog feel full after they’ve eaten, which helps to avoid overeating and weight gain. Fiber is also important for regulating your dog’s digestive system — having the right amount of fiber in your dog’s diet makes issues like constipation and diarrhea less likely.
Low in Fat and Zero Cholesterol
Artichokes are also low-fat and cholesterol-free veggies, which is good for your dog’s heart health and weight. Since some dog treats introduce unnecessary fat and cholesterol to your dog’s body, small bits of veggies like artichokes can be a good alternative.
Do Artichokes Present Any Risks?
Yes, dogs can eat artichokes and gain nutritional value from them. But artichokes also present a few health risks dog owners should be aware of. The risks of feeding artichokes to your dog include:
The biggest risk of artichokes for dogs is the possibility of choking. Artichoke leaves are tough, dense, and hard to swallow, especially for small dogs. Even the more tender artichoke heart can cause choking if a dog decides to wolf it down.
Even if your dog does successfully swallow an artichoke leaf, it could cause an intestinal blockage. This prevents solids and liquids from passing through the gastrointestinal tract and can decrease blood flow to the bowels. A blockage could result in serious symptoms like vomiting, weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and bloating.
Yes, fiber is good for your dog — in the right amount. Too much fiber in the diet will actually backfire. If a dog ingests a lot of artichokes at once, the amount of fiber can cause excessive flatulence or diarrhea.
To help regulate your dog’s digestive health? Give Native Pet’s Pumpkin Powder a try. Our formula can help give your dog relief from diarrhea, and it supports a healthy digestive system by providing bowel movement regularity and assisting with nutrient absorption.
Oil, Seasonings, and Fat
You might usually prepare artichokes with oil, butter, seasonings like salt and garlic powder, or even include it in a dip. But all these tasty additives present a danger to your dog.
Too much fat or oil can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. A lot of salt at once can dehydrate your pooch and even lead to sodium poisoning in large amounts. And garlic powder — as well as garlic itself and related foods like onions, chives, and scallions — can be toxic to dogs.
Marinated artichoke hearts that come in a jar or can are also a no-no. The oil and seasonings they contain just aren’t safe for dogs. Plus, jarred foods like these often contain preservatives that you might not want your dog to ingest.
Human foods that include artichokes, like artichoke dip, are also dangerous. Artichoke dip is usually made with a lot of cream cheese and might contain foods like onions or garlic that dogs shouldn’t have.
How Can Dogs Eat Artichokes Safely?
If dogs can eat artichokes and get some healthy nutrients from them but the veggie also presents serious risks, what are pet parents to do? How can you feed your dog artichokes in a way that doesn’t endanger your dog’s health?
Follow these simple guidelines to give your furry friend artichokes the right way:
- Never give your dog marinated artichoke hearts or foods made with artichokes, such as artichoke dip. These foods contain a lot of fat, oil, and seasonings that will likely cause stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea if your dog ingests too much. They might even contain potentially toxic foods like onions or garlic. Only give your dog fresh artichokes or artichokes that have been steamed in water and cut into small pieces.
- Only give your dog the tender parts of artichokes — the artichoke heart and the stem, not the leaves. Artichoke leaves are tough and can easily lead to choking or an intestinal blockage.
- Cut all parts of the artichoke into small pieces before feeding it to your dog. Bite-sized pieces reduce the risk of choking.
- Keep the portion size small. Any new food introduced to your dog’s system can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea, especially a high-fiber food like artichokes. Only give your dog a few small pieces of artichoke to start. If they seem to tolerate it after a day or so, you can give a few more — but don’t overdo it.
Yes or No: Can Dogs Eat Artichokes?
Are artichokes good for dogs? Yes, this vegetable from the thistle family offers many health benefits for our canine companions. It’s chock-full of vitamins and minerals; contains lots of dietary fiber and healthy antioxidants; and it’s low-calorie and cholesterol-free.
However, artichokes come with some risks for dogs. Raw artichokes and artichoke leaves are very tough and hard, and they present a choking hazard. Because of their high fiber content, too much at once can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, or vomiting. Plus, fresh artichokes or jarred or canned artichokes might be made with seasonings, garlic and chives, oil, cream cheese, or other fats that dogs shouldn’t have.
To help your dog eat artichokes safely, give them fresh artichoke hearts or stems and not the leaves; cut the artichokes into small pieces to avoid the risk of choking; avoid marinated artichokes or foods made with artichokes like dips; and only give your dog a few pieces of artichoke at a time.
For more tips on what your dog can and can’t eat and other pet health and wellness advice, browse the Native Pet blog.